A mediator is a person who is specially trained to help people resolve conflict. Unlike a judge, a mediator doesn't impose solutions on people, but helps them to find their own solutions to their problems.
Some mediators, but not all, are also lawyers. Whether or not the mediator in a family law case is a lawyer, they should have special training about family dynamics and family law issues. Before hiring a mediator, ask about their training and qualifications.
Note that mediators are supposed to be neutral and can't provide legal advice, even if they're also a lawyer.
Private mediators charge for their services. But if you can resolve your issues using mediation, it's generally much less expensive than going to court. Family justice counsellors offer free mediation services to people with low incomes in certain cases.
If you live in the South Peace Region, your family mediation options include the Northern Navigator Initiative. This program is in effect until April 30, 2019.
How do I find a mediator
You can find mediators in several places:
- Mediate BC has a list of qualified family mediators and more information about mediation and how it works
- Family Mediation Canada has information about qualified family mediators
- Family justice counsellors
- Lawyer Referral Service
- MyLawBC's Family Resolution Centre provides free online mediators to help you and your ex-spouse write a parenting plan
- At the Richmond and Robson Square Provincial Courthouses, the judge may offer you up to four hours of free mediation if you qualify. See the eNews article on the Provincial Court of BC website.
Can I make my spouse attend mediation?
In most cases, mediation is voluntary. That is, both you and the other party have to agree to participate.
If you've started a case in Supreme Court, you can take steps to require your spouse to attend a mediation session. You do this by serving your spouse with a document called a Notice to Mediate. See Making mediation happen in a family law case in Supreme Court and Serve Supreme Court documents (for how to serve the document).
For more information on what mediators do, see: